Crime and the Media

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Media representations of crime.

The media over-represent violent and sexual crime.Ditton and Duffy found 46% of media reports were violent or sexual crimes, yet only made up 3% of all crimes recorded by police. Marsh’s study in America found that violent crime was 36x more likely to be reported than property crime.

The media portray criminals and victims as older and more middle-class than those typically found in the C.J.S. Felson = ‘age fallacy’

Media coverage exaggerates police success in clearing cases. Police are major source of crime stories & want to present themselves in good light, and because the media over-represent violent crime, has a higher clear up rate than property crime.

The media exaggerate the risk of victimisation, especially to women, white people and higher status individuals

A central aspect of the manufacture of news is notion of ‘news value’. It is criteria by which journalists and editors decide whether a story is newsworthy enough to make it. Key criteria: Immediacy, Dramatizations, Personalisation, Higher-status, Simplification, Risk, Violence. One reason why news media give so much coverage is that news focuses on unusual and extraordinary, making deviance newsworthy almost by definition, since it abnormal behaviour.

The Media as a cause of crime.

Imitation, Arousal, Desensitisation, By transmitting knowledge of criminal techniques, As a target of crime, By stimulating desires for


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